German Lessons


Three Kinds of Band: der, die and das

If you happened to be reading a German article about a bracelet that Mick Jagger was wearing while recording the 1965 album Rolling Stones Vol. 2, you could potentially see the word Band appear three different times in single sentence, and yet the word would mean three very different things. That's a pretty unlikely scenario, but aren't you at least a little bit curious about the fact that there is a der, die and das Band?


The masculine noun der Band is probably the least common of the three, and is a term primarily used with publications, such as a volume in a book series.


Seine Arbeit hat er jetzt im Bildband „Werbung gegen Realität" veröffentlicht.

He has published his work in an illustrated volume "Advertising versus Reality.”

Caption 34, Werbung gegen Realität - Kunstprojekt Fertigprodukte

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The plural of der Band is die Bände.


The neuter noun das Band has the largest variety of applications and possible translations: 


Allerdings ist es nicht das erste Band, das in diesem Jahr feierlich durchtrennt wurde.

However, this is not the first ribbon that was ceremoniously cut this year.

Caption 22, Rund um den Flughafen - Direktflug Frankfurt-Houston

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Das wird bei denen auf Band aufgezeichnet.

Because that is then recorded by them on tape.

Caption 57, Frankfurter Flughafen - Flugzeugschlepper

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Rund fünfundsiebzigtausend Exemplare liefen insgesamt vom Band.

Around seventy-five thousand specimens left the assembly line.

Caption 35, Porsche 356 - Der erste Porsche

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Das würde dann halt irgendwelche Bänder kosten da, wenn ich Pech hab'.

That would cost some ligaments then, if I'm unlucky.

Caption 91, Lokalhelden - Mini-Airplane - Part 2

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Note that the plural of das Band is die Bänder. Das Band is also used in a number of compound nouns, such as das Tonband (recording tape), das Fließband (assembly line or conveyer belt), das Armband (bracelet), das Halsband (collar or necklace), das Gummiband (rubber band) and many others. 


And now to return to the Rolling Stones with the feminine noun die Band:


Die Band mit den spröden Songs und den klaren, ehrlichen Texten…

The band with the rough songs and the clear, honest lyrics…

Caption 9, Pankow - Rolling Stones des Ostens

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Und weil die in ganz vielen Bands gespielt haben…

And because they played in a lot of bands

Caption 23, Lokalhelden - Art House - Part 3

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Thus die Band singular becomes die Bands plural, just as in English.


So to simply round it all up:
der Band (die Bände) is mostly about publications; 
— das Band (die Bänder) is mostly about things relating to belts and rubber bands, etc.
die Band (die Bands) is about music groups.


Further Learning
Look at these many examples of compound words containing Band and see if you can find them on Yabla German to see them used in a real world context.

Auch, sogar, selbst: The Adverb "Even" in German

Auch im zweiten Drittel ließen die Löwen nicht locker.

Even in the second third of the game, the Löwen did not relax.

Caption 25, Eishockey - Löwen Frankfurt - EC Bad Nauheim

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You are likely used to auch meaning "also," but did you know that it can mean "even" as well? There are three words for the adverb "even" that are essentially interchangeable in German: auch, selbst, and sogar. They are often combined with wenn. Below we see that auch wenn means "even if" and sometimes "even though":


Auch wenn es mir mein Herz zerreißt

Even if it tears my heart up

Caption 5, Beatrice Egli - Irgendwann

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Doch auch wenn im Film viel Basketball gespielt wird:

But even though a lot of basketball is played in the movie,

Ein Sportfilm soll es dennoch nicht werden.

it is not intended to be a sports movie.

Captions 45-46, Dreharbeiten - zum Film „Playoff“

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In a previous lesson, we wrote about how the word selbst is used in the context of a person having made or done something themselves. However, in certain contexts, it is placed in front of the subject and means "even" as well:


Doch selbst bei Temperaturen wie im Kühlschrank...

But even at temperatures like in the refrigerator...

Caption 31, Alpenseen - Kühle Schönheiten

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Selbst ausgewachsen werden diese Tintenfische gerade mal zwanzig Zentimeter groß.

Even fully grown, these squid will only become twenty centimeters long.

Caption 28, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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The dual meaning of selbst means that it cannot be used in every sentence, because it would cause confusion. You have likely heard sogar more often:


In Berlin treten die besten von ihnen sogar in Wettkämpfen gegeneinander an.

In Berlin, the best of them even enter into competitions against one another.

Caption 34, Currywurst - Berlins schärfstes Stück

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Er kann sogar den Airbus A dreihundertachtzig drücken und ziehen.

It can even push and pull an Airbus A three hundred eighty.

Caption 18, Frankfurter Flughafen - Flugzeugschlepper

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Further Learning
For further examples, just do a simple search, as there are many on Yabla German!
See if you can also find examples of noch, which can also be translated as "even" when it augments an adjective. 

Light, Left and Loose Hands

In English, we are used to using a number of idioms to express that something is easy without thinking much about the literal meaning of what we are saying. For instance, to someone who is not so familiar with English, the expression "it's a piece of cake" might sound like you are discussing pastries, when really you are just attempting to express that something is easy. 


The German language also has a number of idioms expressing that something is easy or easily done, and many of them are related to the hands. 


Heute wird das alles mit leichter Hand, äh, so weggewischt.

Today, that is all erased with a light hand [idiom, with ease].

Caption 80, Die Stunde der Offiziere - Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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This means that you don't have to use much energy for something and can use a "light hand" to easily get something done.


Das machen wir dann mit links.

We'll do that then with our left hand [idiom, easily].


This does not mean to literally use your left hand to do something, but rather that something is so easy that a right-handed person could even manage it with their less nimble left hand.


Dann ging mir das eigentlich locker von der Hand.

Then it actually went very loosely from the hand [idiom, was easy for me].

Caption 72, Frankfurter Flughafen - Flugzeugschlepper

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This might suggest that something has fallen out of your hand, but actually means that something was accomplished with very little effort or quite easily.


Further Learning
Go onto Yabla German and find more examples of phrases expressing "easy" and "easily." As Piggeldy and Frederick always say: Nichts leichter als das!

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